During my stay in Geneva a couple of weeks ago, I noticed something. There were more people reading in public than I ever see in Singapore. While waiting for buses and trams, more than a handful of people were reading at the stops. As I strolled through the weekend bric-à-brac at Plainpalais, I saw a few people basking in the sun with their books. This one man stood out to me as he sat beside the loud and active skatepark. He in contrast was the picture of serenity as he read and drank his coffee.
Deciding what to pack on travels often ends in debates on what must come along and what can stay home. Paying for excess baggage usually isn’t worth the extra cost. For bibliophiles, it’s all the tougher because books are some of the densest objects in our suitcases. After struggling through this predicament for the second time this year, I decided to share my process.
In the grand scheme of things, 25 is just a number, even if applied to age. Yet we ascribe such significance to age, which make birthdays significant (non-)events. This year my closest friends and my family too celebrated with me ahead of this day, so no, I didn’t wake up feeling any different. Though yes, I did wake up with the stark realisation that I now am a quarter century old.
Over the past year I’ve come to listen to an average of four audiobooks per month. This year alone about a third of the books I’ve read were audiobooks. The more I listen, the more narrators I come across as well. I’ve reached a point where I can recognize a lot of the voices I’ve heard narrating. Once in a while, I notice the same voices. That’s where my problems begin.
Who would’ve thought that I of all people would chance upon a book that is under review by the National Library Board (NLB), Singapore? I certainly didn’t think I would — not after 14 years of patronising the public libraries here and almost always finding what I looked for. Occasionally books weren’t in the catalogue at all and I could guess which themes were potentially “questionable”.